Auricular Acupoint Pressing Therapy

Auricular acupoint pressing therapy, also known as auricular acupressure therapy, refers to a kind of therapy for preventing and treating diseases by pressing and stimulating the acupoints or reaction points on the auricle with granule drugs such as vaccaria segetalis and cassia seeds. According to holographic theory, the ear has a shape of an inverted fetus, with very close relationship between the ear and the viscera. The ear plays an important part in connecting body surface with viscera, through the conduction of the meridians to the corresponding viscera, in order to treat diseases of the corresponding viscera. Studies have indicated that, through percutaneous stimulation of the ear’s vagus nerve, inflammatory factors can be regulated, thereby reducing the inflammatory response. Other studies have confirmed that auricular plasters can improve vital capacity, increase hemoglobin content, and relieve palpitations, chest tightness, shortness of breath, dyspnea, and other symptoms in COVID-19 patients.

Treatment Mechanism

The nerves on the auricle are extremely rich and closely related to the whole body. Because there are shallow and deep receptors in the auricle, the qi obtained by using different stimulation methods, such as acupuncture, auricular acupoint pressing, electric pulse, and laser and magnetic lines, may be excited by a variety of sensory devices, especially the pain receptors, which receive and transmit various sensory impulses and gather into the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve. Then the nucleus transmits impulses from the reticular structure of the brain stem, thus regulating various visceral activities and various sensory functions.

The ear is closely related to the 12 major meridians. There are more than 30 records of auricular diagnosis and treatment in Huangdi Neijing. All 12 meridians reach the ear directly or indirectly around the eardrum. Although the six yin meridians do not enter the ear directly or are distributed around the ear, they all combine with the yang meridians through the meridians. In clinical practice, it has been found that patients receiving auricular point pressure treatment experience a slight chill, a flow within the body, or a sense of heat and warmth radiating from the ear to a certain part of the body along a certain route, which is mostly similar to running the course of the meridian.

The ear is closely related to the viscus, which is an important part of the body surface. In Miraculous: Meridians, it is said that “qi in the kidney can flow to the ear, and the kidney and the ear can get five sounds”, which indicates that the ear and the kidney have a close relationship. In Miraculous: Five Spirits, it is said that “evil in the liver, causes pain in two ribs ... evil in the blood ... take the veins of the ear tip to clear it”. This indicates the relationship between the ear and the liver. These expositions all show that the ear is closely related to the viscera. In clinical study, the effect of electroacupuncture on the gastric region of auricular point was observed. The results showed that the amplitude and frequency of electroacupuncture on the gastric region of the auricular point had a benign bidirectional effect. Therefore, acupuncture or pressing ear points have the function of regulating viscera and organ function.

Auricular Point Selection

  • Attack stage-. Lung, chest, trachea, asthma, kidney, sympathetic, shenmen
  • Convalescent stage-. Lung, kidney, spleen, stomach, endocrine

Auricular Point Positioning

  • 1) The lung point is located around the auricular center, i.e. area 14 of the auricular concha.
  • 2) The chest point is located at two-fifths of the anterior part of the antiauricle, the anterior lateral auricular border of the thoracic vertebra, i.e. area 10 of the auricular concha.
  • 3) The trachea point is located in the cavity of the auricular concha, between the heart area and the external auricle gate, i.e. area 16 of the auricular concha.
  • 4) The pingchuan point is located at the tip of the tragus.
  • 5) The kidney point is located at the lower bifurcation of the upper and lower crus of helix, i.e. area 10 of the auricular concha
  • 6) The sympathetic point is located at the junction between the lower crus of helix and the inner side of the helix, i.e. the front end of area 6 of the helix.
  • 7) The shenmen point is located at the upper part, one-third behind the triangle fossa, i.e. area 4 of the triangle fossa.
  • 8) The spleen point is located at the posterior upper part of the cavity of the auricular concha, i.e. area 13 of the auricular concha.
  • 9) The stomach point is located at where the crus of helix disappears, i.e. area 4 of auricular concha.
  • 10) The endocrine point is located in the interscreen notch at the anterior lower part of the cavity of the auricular concha, i.e., area 18 of the auricular concha.

Operation Method

  • 1) Material preparation: 75% ethanol, cotton swab, tweezers, vaccaria segetalis auricular plate.
  • 2) With the patient in the lateral or sitting position, disinfect the relevant acupoints.
  • 3) Seed burying: hold the auricle with the fingers of the left hand and the tweezers in the right hand to take the tape off the auricle board of the seed vaccaria segetalis, and stick it to the acupoints; gently rub it for 1-2 minutes until the partial auricle appears slightly red and warm.
  • 4) After each operation, clean up materials and sanitize hands.
  • 5) The left and right ears should be operated alternately, changing once every 3-5 days, 10 times for one course of treatment.

Contraindications

Ear needles are prohibited for:

  • 1) Pregnant women who have habitual abortion
  • 2) Patients with frostbite or inflammation of the ear
  • 3) Patients who are overtired or extremely weak
  • 4) Patients with severe organic lesions and severe anemia
  • 5) Patients with eczema, ulcers, and such on the auricle
 
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